There is a picture of the Virgin Mary, below which hangs a bowl containing a floating votive candle. Furnishings and other belongings are sparse, consisting of a dresser, a small bed, a fireplace, a box of coal, an alarm clock, a bath, a table and chairs, a teapot, a frying pan, a few books, and a long-handled shovel. The act opens with Juno Boyle and her daughter Mary discussing the murder of their neighbor Mrs. She complains that he has already worn out his health insurance and will soon be out of unemployment, yet he is always singing. Mary seems unperturbed, tying a ribbon around her head and musing about which color to wear. Johnny reenters.
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There is a picture of the Virgin Mary, below which hangs a bowl containing a floating votive candle. Furnishings and other belongings are sparse, consisting of a dresser, a small bed, a fireplace, a box of coal, an alarm clock, a bath, a table and chairs, a teapot, a frying pan, a few books, and a long-handled shovel.
The act opens with Juno Boyle and her daughter Mary discussing the murder of their neighbor Mrs. She complains that he has already worn out his health insurance and will soon be out of unemployment, yet he is always singing.
Mary seems unperturbed, tying a ribbon around her head and musing about which color to wear. Johnny reenters. He walks with a limp, having been shot in the hip during the Easter Week rebellion, and he has also lost an arm. Juno reminds him that his father will be home soon, but Johnny counters that his father hates to be asked to do anything. He asks if the candle in front of the picture of the Virgin Mary is still lit, and Juno reassures him that it is. Jerry Devine , a young man, enters and Mary hurries out.
He reports that Father Farrell has offered Boyle a job, but Boyle is still out drinking with his friend Joxer. Jerry rushes out to find him and Juno complains that her husband will deliberately miss the job. Boyle and Joxer can be heard coming up the stairs, with Boyle singing. Juno sits on the bed with draperies hiding her from view of the newcomers.
Boyle invites Joxer inside, reassuring him that Juno has left. He grumbles that Juno is always complaining, and Joxer agrees that this is a hard thing to put up with. Boyle offers Joxer a cup of tea. At this point Juno makes her presence known. She sarcastically offers Joxer an egg as well; flustered, he says he is in a hurry. Boyle and Joxer begin talking of visiting the foreman of a job to start working.
Juno expresses her disgust for the charade and chastises her husband for his laziness. Juno asks Boyle if he saw Jerry. She complains that he was in a pub; Boyle swears he was not.
Rather than confess or apologize, Boyle complains about being watched all the time. Jerry delivers his news - that he can have a job if he goes to Rathmines - and Boyle complains of sudden pain in his legs that would make it hard for him to work. Boyle goes into the bedroom to change into his work pants and Juno leaves for work.
Jerry speaks with Mary, telling her that he will likely be elected secretary of his union and explaining how well he could support her. Mary has no interest and asks him to let her go, shouting when he refuses.
Mary and Jerry exit, and Boyle complains about children not caring about their parents anymore. Despite his bold words, Boyle puts the breakfast sausage on the pan to cook and starts to sing. Steps are heard on the stairs and he hides the pan under the bed, but it is only a man asking if he wants a sewing machine. Boyle continues to cook his breakfast and sing, but is interrupted again by thundering knocking at the street-level door. Johnny fearfully asks who it is.
Joxer is afraid to look, but Boyle says it is a man with a trench coat who is going away. Boyle invites Joxer to stay for tea. Joxer is afraid that Juno might return, but Boyle convinces him that if she did, he could climb out the window and hide on the roof. Boyle tells Joxer of the job he is going to. Joxer says it is good news, but Boyle reminds him of the pains in his legs. The two hear footsteps near the door; Boyle frantically tries to hide everything and Joxer rushes to escape out the window, but it is only the coal vendor, asking if they want any coal.
When Juno enters, Boyle denies her assertions that he and Joxer had been together. She tells him to smarten himself up as a visitor is coming; Boyle assumes the visit has to do with another job. Juno fusses to tidy the room and Mary enters with Charlie Bentham, a tall, good-looking young man.
Boyle and Johnny can be heard arguing humorously as Boyle changes out of his work pants. Ellison has died, and that he wished to leave his property only to his second cousin, Michael Finnegan of Santry, and to Boyle, his first cousin.
He explains that half of the property would be worth between and pounds. The entire family is ecstatic. Boyle claims that he is finished consorting with Joxer, who angrily climbs in through the window. The two argue humorously, Joxer exits, and Boyle claims he is a new man, singing emotionally to his wife about how dear she is to him. He is exceedingly selfish; Johnny notes that he hates to be asked to do anything, and when Jerry Devine grabs Mary and she cries for help, all Boyle does is complain about the noise.
He lies without remorse and invents pains in his legs to avoid having to work. Boyle is set up in opposition to Juno, a pillar of strength.
While Boyle tries to escape reality through drinking and fantasies of his former life as a sea captain, Juno faces reality and takes care of her family. We see the dehumanizing influence of poverty, the tragic effect of the war on Johnny, and the futile way in which Mary tries to escape the circumstances of her life through education.
His pessimistic view of the Easter Rising is evident in the character of Johnny, who represents the cost of the rebellion in terms of the human spirit. A clock lies face down on the mantel, symbolizing the way that time stands still for the Boyles.
The mirror and the books by Ibsen on the table represent two opposing forces influencing Mary, her vanity and her desire to better herself through education. Towards the end of the act, we hear Boyle changing clothes practically in front of the audience, an offstage convention brought onto the stage; it is almost as if he is only acting a part in the drama of human life.
The play is tragicomic, containing elements of both comedy and tragedy. The language is rich with literary allusions. The play also provides an excellent reproduction of Dublin speech. There are also comical phrases and malapropisms such as "Antanarctic Ocean," a portmanteau formed by combining the words Antarctica and Arctic Ocean.
Juno and the Paycock
Plot[ edit ] Barry Fitzgerald, who played Captain Jack Boyle in the original stage production, appears as an orator in the first scene, but has no other role. Juno has dubbed her husband "the Paycock" because she thinks him as useful and vain as a peacock. Daughter Mary has a job but is on strike against the victimisation of a co-worker. Son Johnny has become a semi-invalid after losing an arm and severely injuring his hip in a fight with the Black and Tans during the Irish War of Independence. The Paycock tells his friend Joxer Sidney Morgan of his disgust at the informer, unaware that his son was responsible.
Juno and the Paycock Summary
Act I[ edit ] Juno and the Paycock takes place in the tenements of Dublin in , just after the outbreak of the Irish Civil War , and revolves around the misfortunes of the dysfunctional Boyle family. The father, "Captain" Jack so called because of his propensity for telling greatly exaggerated stories of his short career as a merchant seaman , is a loafer who claims to be unable to work because of pains in his legs, which mysteriously appear whenever someone mentions work to him. The mother, Juno so called because all of the important events in her life took place in June , is the only member of the family currently working, as daughter Mary is on strike and son Johnny is disabled, having lost his arm in the War of Independence. Mary feels guilty about dumping her boyfriend and fellow striker, Jerry Devine, who feels more strongly for her than she does for him. Meanwhile, Johnny agonises over his betrayal of his friend Robbie Tancred, a neighbour and former comrade in the IRA , who was subsequently murdered by Free State supporters; Johnny is terrified that the IRA will execute him as punishment for being an informant. Overjoyed with the news, Jack vows to Juno to end his friendship with Joxer and change his ways. The Boyles throw a party and invite Bentham, who is courting Mary.
Juno and the Paycock Summary and Analysis of Act I